Mumbai: Fag-end buying in select counters helped S&P BSE Sensex reverse early losses to end with a gain of over 22 points at 19,245.70, amid uncertainty over outcome of the US Federal Reserve policy meeting ending later Wednesday.
After slipping around 103 points yesterday, Sensex was under selling pressure as investors offloaded shares mainly in auto, power, PSUs and healthcare. The rupee remaining in the 58.7 levels also added to investors concerns. However, Sensex later recovered as buying was seen in fag-end and finished at 19,245.70, a gain of 22.42 points or 0.12 percent.
In the 30-share Sensex pack, 15 stocks led by HDFC Ltd, HDFC Bank, Maruti Suzuki, Sterlite Industries and Hindalco gained. However, Infosys, TCS, Hero MotoCorp, Tata Motors and Sun Pharma ended in negative territory.
Similarly, the NSE 50-share CNX Nifty moved up by 8.65 points or 0.15 percent to 5,822.25. Also, SX40, the flagship index of MCX-SX, closed 14.04 points higher at 11,427.07.
Brokers said investors were reluctant to add big positions and mostly stayed on sidelines ahead of US Federal Reserve meet ending later today. Expectations are high that Fed chief Ben Bernanke will give a guidance on Quantitative Easing (QE) and some hints on when the monthly asset purchases will tapered off, they added.
Shares from consumer durable and metal segments attracted investor attention. Second-line stocks outperformed the Sensex and Nifty on buying interest by the retail investors.
Shares of telecom companies remained in demand after regulator Trai decided not to make roaming services completely free of charge. Bharti Airtel rose 2.83 percent, Rcom gained 2.38 percent and Idea Cellular jumped 4.52 percent.
Outside of major benchmark indices, shares of IDFC caught investors' fancy and gained 0.94 percent after the company's board has approved a proposal to seek licence from RBI for setting up a bank. Religare Enterprises, however, ended flat.
Globally, barring Japan, most of the other Asian stocks ended lower as investors adopted a cautious stance ahead of the conclusion of the FOMC meet. Fed policy statement is due at 1800 GMT (11.30 p.m. IST) and Bernanke is expected to brief the press half an hour later.
Benchmark indices in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan fell by 0.5-1.13 percent, while Japan's Nikkei closed up by 1.83 percent.
European markets were, however, trading mixed with upward bias in their early trading. France's CAC was up by 0.14 percent, Germany's DAX by 0.27 percent while the UK's FTSE was trading lower by 0.09 percent.
Meanwhile, Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 597.37 crore yesterday as per provisional data from the stock exchanges. This impacted local market sentiment.
Overall, 15 shares from the Sensex pack finished with gains while others ended with losses.
Bharti Airtel was the top gainer from the Sensex with a rise of 2.83 percent on reports that a government panel has recommended a major liberalisation of the foreign direct investment (FDI) regime, including hiking FDI limit to 100 percent from 74 percent in telecom industry. Its peers, Reliance Communications and Idea Cellular hit 52-week highs.
Other major gainers were Hindalco (2.66 percent), Sterlite Ind (2.65 percent), Tata Steel (2.05 percent), HDFC Bank (1.14 percent), HDFC (1.06 percent) and RIL (0.91 percent).
However, Tata Motors fell by 1.80 percent, followed by Dr Reddy's Lab (1.55 percent), NTPERCENT (1.39 percent), TCS (1.33 percent), Hero MotoCorp (1.26 percent), Coal India (1.12 percent), Sun Pharma (1.02 percent) and Tata Power (0.78 percent).
The market breadth was positive as 1,261 stocks closed in the green while 1,113 that settled lower. Total market turnover was relative up at Rs 1,657.56 crore from Rs 1,638.35 crore yesterday.